The Phoenix

Bears’ Babb rolls to gold at 145

Boyertown senior is PAC’s only champ; 12 make states

- By Jeff Stover jstover@21st-centurymed­ @MercuryXSt­over on Twitter

EAST NOTTINGHAM » Chance Babb was on a roll this weekend. Both literally and figurative­ly. Babb had the unique distinctio­n of being the Pioneer Athletic Conference’s lone champion at the South East AAA Regional tournament this weekend. The Boyertown senior capped his domination of the 145-pound bracket with an overtime victory against Council Rock South’s Shermuhamm­ad Sadriddino­v in their gold-medal bout, a step up from last year’s runnerup finish.

Babb’s golden performanc­e headlined the weekend as 12 Pioneer Athletic Conference wrestlers earned advancemen­t to next week’s PIAA Championsh­ips in Hershey.

And he owed it to a number of moves — he described them as “scrambling” rolls — that enabled him to rebound from a one-point deficit to force overtime, then score a takedown for a 6-4 verdict 32 seconds into the OT frame.

“I’m comfortabl­e in all positions,” he said. “I was strong there.”

Babb (41-6) executed one of the backyard rolls to escape in the third period, forcing a 4-4 tie. He used another to get the deciding takedown on Sadriddino­v (40-7), who came into the regional with a record similar to Babb’s and a 2-0 record in head-to-head matches.

“I knew it would be a good scrap,” Babb said. “The other times, I let him dictate the pace. Today, I controlled him myself.”

Babb took a 2-1 lead in the first period. Sadriddino­v executed an escape and takedown for a 4-3 lead, but Babb rolled for an escape and 4-4 tie in regulation.

He dispelled any concerns over the possibilit­y of getting caught in a defensive pin, which happened to him at the King of the Hill tournament earlier in the season.

“It wasn’t going to happen,” he said. “I was going to be in control.”

Babb was one of three PAC wrestlers to be in the gold-medal hunt, joined by Spring-Ford’s Cole Smith at 112 and Perkiomen Valley’s Kelly Kakos at 138. They both ended up with silver medals from the weekend.

Smith (33-3) was pinned by Council Rock North’s Tony Burke at the buzzer of the second period. Kakos (39-4), the Outstandin­g Wrestler from last weekend’s District 1-AAA North tournament, was outpointed by Downingtow­n West’s Dominic Findora, the regional OW, 9-2.

Smith racked up a tech-fall, major decision and 7-2 decision of Pennridge’s Cole Coffin to reach 113 title bout. He previously faced Coffin in District 1-AAA Duals tournament, scoring a 4-0 decision.

Kakos advanced to the 138 goldmedal match with 6-4 decision of Erick Dominguez (Souderton), the opponent he beat for District 1-AAA North title last weekend, in their district final.

The PAC went 5-2 among its seven third-place medal qualifiers. In an all-league pairing at 113, Boyertown’s Luke Heimbach had a 3-1 decision of Upper Perkiomen’s Brandan Rozanski.

“I wrestled him last weekend,” Heimbach noted. “I learned not to sit when I had a leg.”

Heimbach’s teammate, Gavin Sheridan, duplicated his effort by placing third at 120 with a 6-1 decision of Sun Valley’s Shane Holefelder. The smile he showed on the medal podium was brightest of the medalists.

“Any time I place,” he explained, “I smile because I love what I do, competing against the best in the state. There’s still work to be done. I’m not finished.”

In other third-place bouts, Quinn Smith (Spring-Ford) scored a 9-4 decision of Abington’s Matthew McCaughey at 126; and Dillon Bechtold (Owen J. Roberts) blanked Kennett’s Darrale Barrett, 3-0. Then there was Cole Euker (Perkiomen Valley), whose 9-1 major decision of Strath Haven’s Ben Farabough made him the program’s first freshman to qualify for the state tournament.

Finishing fourth at 189 was Owen Koch (Phoenixvil­le), who was edged by Strath Haven’s Sam Milligan, 1-0.

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